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DFS Roundtable: Preseason Week 2

Several DFS staffers offer picks and strategy advice for dominating the Preseason Week 2 Main Slate

Give a rundown of your strategy for Week 2 of the preseason.

Justin Howe: I'm all over the Packers, who will likely ask solid backup Brett Hundley to quarterback most of the game as they look to boost his trade value. Hundley played great in Week 1, and his receivers will benefit greatly from catching from him; many teams will rotate several camp quarterbacks who lack NFL talent. The Packers are seriously evaluating seven ultra-green wideouts, but two stood out in terms of Week 1 playing time. Rookie DeAngelo Yancey played 31 snaps, while practice-squad type Max McCaffrey saw 28. Each caught three passes with a successful long-ball. McCaffrey's seven targets were a great boon for DFS players who rolled the dice. The outlook for the Packers receivers will be even less crowded if Malachi Dupre, who sustained a scary neck injury last week, sits as I expect.

The Patriots should also be relatively predictable Saturday. Nearly all their veteran starters and second-unit guys sat entirely in Week 1, and the fighting-for-a-job reserves saw heavy spin. Dion Lewis played 24 snaps - most of the first half - as Bill Belichick sought to evaluate his stamina. He and Brandon Bolden ultimately dominated the backfield, and both will be squarely in my Week 2 portfolio. Like the Packers, they'll also be running out coveted backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for a massive snap count. (Why he's coveted, I'll never understand, but here we are.) The checkdown artist should be looking for Lewis quite a bit, as well as rookie tight end Jacob Hollister, who caught 7 passes for 116 yards last week.

Chris Feery: For general strategy, I’m zeroing in on players who will play the most snaps. That’s awfully challenging in the preseason, but excellent clues live in our preseason reports. Take a gander at those reports with these questions in mind:

  • What rookies have created enough buzz to seriously warrant consideration for regular playing time?
  • Any undrafted free agents turning heads at camp?
  • Which veterans are not guaranteed a roster spot?

Following that line of thinking last week led to players such as Cooper Kupp, Matt Breida, and Kenny Golladay popping out, and they all produced a respectable return.

For this week, I’ll be doing the same. Kupp and Golladay are already on the radar. I’m looking for as many targets and touches as I can find, and I may complement that with a stack of a first-team quarterback and wide receiver who have a solid chance of scoring on the opening drive.

Alex Smith and Tyreek Hill pop out as one possibility, and Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate pop out as another. Additionally, I’ll be looking for clear signs of how much time each of the signal callers will be getting, so I may find myself intrigued by a backup that’s locked into two quarters of playing time against a middling defense.

Phil Alexander: Forgive me if non-player specific insight doesn't exactly answer the question here, but the best advice I can give on preseason NFL DFS is pretty generic -- pay attention. The edge to be gained on most of the field in preseason DFS tournaments and cash games boils down to rostering the players who will be on the field the most. If you only make a half-hearted attempt at doing research, you'll end up falling into the same traps that drain the bankrolls of most new players who dabble in preseason DFS.

Most players who play preseason DFS take fantasy football seriously. They're familiar with teams' full depth charts and follow the latest news closely. You need to put in more work than these folks. News stories impacting teams' second, third, and fourth string players -- the ones you're counting on for fantasy production in preseason DFS -- don't usually warrant news blurbs on major sites.

Create a Twitter list of beat writers for each NFL team. When you're preparing for the slate, review the beat writer tweets and local articles from the last week of practices. Use the info to sniff out which players are in line for the most playing time. Jeff Haseley's guide to following the NFL on Twitter is the best place to start building your lists.

Case in point, an average player on last Sunday's slate (Colts vs. Lions and Seahawks vs. Chargers) might have figured Colts backup quarterback Stephen Morris would play most of the game, and tight end Erik Swoope would see a lot of time with the second team offense. Both players were listed as second string on the team depth chart (remember Andrew Luck was out), and in Swoope's case, he was generating buzz as a sleeper in season long leagues. But DFS players who followed the beat writer reports learned that Phillip Walker (an undrafted free agent quarterback from Temple) had begun stealing meaningful reps from Morris during the previous week of practices. And despite no mainstream news blurbs, Swoope had missed the entire week of practice. Walker came in for Scott Tolzien after three series and played into the fourth quarter, while Swoope was a DNP who we later learned had arthroscopic knee surgery earlier in the week.

With such a small margin separating a winning preseason DFS roster from a losing one, you can't afford to miss out on the one player at each position who can prove to be a true difference maker. The only way to put yourself in a position to win is to at least know which players will see the most time on the field. The Internet is a big place with a ton of information -- use it.

Devin Knotts: Preseason leagues are won by two things, quarterback play and touchdowns. I will typically go GPP only in preseason largely because the advantage is when people do not follow who is actually playing and will just play the studs in the game.

Jimmy Garropolo should play the majority of the game just like he did in Week 1 of the preseason and will be one of the more popular plays this week. Mitchell Trubisky played the entire second half against the Broncos and looked terrific, the Bears are going to continue throwing the ball frequently. Brett Hundley is a guy who should play a significant amount of snaps and will be popular, but I will be looking at Taysom Hill on the Packers as a guy who could play the entire second half and should be lower owned. Hill has the mobility to run for a touchdown as well as throw for a touchdown. Same goes for Jeff Driskel who is also a rookie looking to make an impression.

Running back is a bit of a mess. In a GPP you really are going to want to find someone who is either likely to get goal line work or is going to catch a few passes. Benny Cunningham is a guy who I like this week to do potentially both of those. Alfred Morris should see a significant amount of volume and capitalized on it last year in preseason week 2 having 13 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown.

Deonte Thompson led the Bears with 8 targets last week and had a nice connection with Mitchell Trubisky. Noah Brown is a very talented wide receiver for the Cowboys who is trying to prove himself and has looked great in the preseason. I'll also mix in a stud wide receiver, such as Dez Bryant, who should play for a quarter, draw several targets, and earn a red zone look. Mike Evans is not on this slate but is a prime example of a stud receiver getting looks early and often when they're in the game as he had seven targets in just two drives of work.

Jacob Hollister had a great game last week, and with the Patriots continuing to sit their key players, Hollister is intriguing tight end play again this week.

Austin Lee: For more preseason strategy and Week 2 picks, check out the Power Grid show: